Author Archives: redstarreviews

About redstarreviews

A reader (primarily of SciFi & Fantasy) who desires to share his thoughts on the books that he reads. Also on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Tumblr with the same username.

Four Of Nine: The Towers Of Sunset

The Wheel Of Time turns and as it turns facts become stories, stories become legends, legends become myths, myths become forgotten, and the forgotten comes again…. or something like that. Why on earth would I start a post about the second book of the Saga Of Recluce with a butchering of the opening of the WOT? It is in answer to a question posed in the First Of Nine post from a few days back (which you should check out for an explanation of this crazy numbering system) about what led me to Recluce.

You see long long ago when I was a teen reader I encountered this series around the same time I encountered Wheel Of Time by Robert Jordan and noticed that they both have the same cover artist and RJ complimented the Recluce Saga in a cover blurb. Now this story should go that I read WOT, trusted RJ and picked up The Magic Of Recluce because that is the first book of the Recluce Saga. However as ages have passed since I was a teen reader the story has moved into the legendary myth status so I need to write it down before I forget it. Here is the true myth:

My library didn’t have The Magic Of Recluce. It did have The Towers Of Sunset. It didn’t have The Eye Of The World but it had other WOT books. I tried to figure out which book came first in Recluce but there wasn’t an internet and I was horrible at figuring out library records so I figured that this book looked interesting and that author I want to read recommended this one so… yep. You guessed it. I read book two of the Saga Of Recluce before I read book one. The Towers Of Sunset were my gateway into this wonderful world.

The good news is The Towers Of Sunset don’t really spoil The Magic Of Recluce as there is almost a thousand years between the books, mainly I knew the answer behind who was in some paintings Lerris sees in TMOR. Overall the stories are very separate. That said this does again raise the Publication vs Chronological reading order question and I’ll again side with the author and say the Publication order is the way to go as the concepts being explored in this series grow as you read the series.

The Towers Of Sunset features two primary POV characters who find themselves linked in ways they might not fully understand as they both start to journey inwardly and outwardly in their lives. This is a book of great change and upheaval, and what remains at the end is different than what is present at the start of the story. This story is one with deep emotions and transformations. Really a great story for those who enjoy character development.

Recluce is a saga that pulls me back into its embrace time and time again. It is a series I find both challenging and comforting and one I can’t praise enough! I am really looking forward to my next post on Recluce as the third book of the Saga is one of my all time favorite books! Tomorrow’s post though returns us to a Godless World.

Third Of Nine: Horus Rising

Today’s post is sneaking in just before the end of the day. It was a busy one today, y’all! For more info on why I’m doing bine posts nine days in a row please check out post one of nine. For today’s post I’ve chosen the first book of a series that means a lot to me: Horus Rising by Dan Abnett which is the first book of The Horus Heresy

Trying to watch Horus rise….

Y’all know I’ve made the joke that the only way to finish a never ending series is to never stop reading it, and I’ve followed that advice and am currently on book thirty-nine of the Heresy. This series is an intense drama that spans the galaxy. It is GrimDark Military SciFi at its finest. Totally over the top action and emotions and a moving storyline! If you want a series to lose yourself in then this one is perfect for that.

At the heart of this series is a conflict between a father and his son, The Emperor Of Mankind created twenty superbeings know as the Primarchs. These Primarchs were created in the Emperor’s image with each carrying on a specific trait of his. Horus is the most favored and the greatest of all the Primarchs. Horus is who the Emperor entrusts the crusade to reunite all of humanity under the rule of the Imperium. Horus is who turns from his father and embraces a darker power.

If you are familiar with the lore of Warhammer40K then you know that ten thousand years prior to WH40K something terrible happened that almost destroyed humanity. That terrible thing is The Horus Heresy. This series is WH40K delving deep into its roots! Horus stands at the heart if it all, and now having read Horus Rising three times I think I understand his choices a bit better. Now I am not condoning galactic civil war, it’s just that you start to get a better feel for Horus and for why he makes the decisions he does. It is easy yo assume that just because someone is a superbeing they shouldn’t be prone to petty jealousies and they should be able to move past betrayals, but what if BECAUSE they ARE a superbeing they FEEL these raw emotions even more deeply than we could ever imagine? Worth considering!

This book introduces you to sone of the lies that Horus has been fed by the one he trusted the most, but it doesn’t spell out those lies clearly, and it doesn’t offer you the deeper truths. This series is one you have to dig in to in order to find out all the lies and truth, and once you do I think you find that the Horus’ rise makes more sense.

On the next post featuring book two of this series I’ll talk a bit more about the supporting cast! Hope you’re enjoying this journey through nine days of blogging!

Second Of Nine: Winterbirth

In keeping with my nine days of posts to get back in the swing of reading and writing (see previous post for details) I am featuring another of my favorite Fantasy series: The Godless World Trilogy and specifically featuring book one: Winterbirth

First off let me talk about the book itself: Orbit has perfected the large trade paperback book style! They create the best large fwompy books! Which is the sound they make when you fwomp them down. Go ahead and try it. Fwomp. Great bookish sound! The design of this trilogy is also eye catching as they went very minimalist and bright with the red title popping off the cover. Literally as it is raised. So I discovered this trilogy because the cover caught my eye and I am a cover buy reader! The concept is interesting too. Check out the summary from the back cover:

The general concept is that the gods created the world and the living beings on it. Then the beings went to war amongst themselves and so deeply offended the gods that the gods washed their hands of the world and left it. Some still believe they can bring the gods back if only everyone believes exactly how they do and they are willing to kill everyone who disagrees until they have their unity. Those that believe this way have been driven into the far north where existence is hard and have been ignored while the lands further south grow wealthy and prosperous. However there are changes stirring and deep magics awakening, and that which has been hidden is coming back into light.

This book launches one of the most beautiful Dark Fantasy stories I have ever read. I’ll detail that more when I post about the last book in another of these posts because of course I need something non spoilery to discuss in the posts for books two and three, but just know that the story that starts here grows beyond the roots of this book. It grows into the hearts of the readers.

That said have you ever had a book you bad to give up on and return back to at a later date? That was this book for me. I got 70 pages into it the first time and the people/place names all just seemed the same and I wasn’t feeling it. So I bailed, but decided later on to give it one more try and that next try I found that everything clicked. Truly amazing when that happens!

I’ll discuss the second and third books in upcoming posts and will do so in a way that hopefully doesn’t ruin any plot points for you. I’d rather always say too lite about plot than too much, but I think the next two posts on this trilogy will be safe. Thus ends the second of nine days of reviews!

First Of Nine: The Magic Of Recluce

Hello all! I am challenging myself to return to regular sharing/posting on my social media sites so I have taken a series of nine photos to share with y’all over the next nine days! I picked out books 1-3 of three separate series that I love and will write about them here, on bookstagram, on twitter, and possibly finish it all off with a podcast!

For the first of the nine posts I am featuring my favorite “comfort read” series of all time: L. E. Modesitt Jr’s Recluce Saga! What exactly do I mean by “comfort read”? WELL I AM GLAD YOU (possibly) ASKED! For me a “comfort read” is a book/series/author that when you pick up that book you feel like you are coming home. That is exactly what reading the Recluce Saga feels like to me after all these years of reading it. More on that later in this blog, let’s discuss this book!

The Magic Of Recluce is a wonderful coming of age tale set in a magical world that exists within a balance between Chaos and Order. Lerris (the star of this tale) discovers he has the potential to be a focal point for either side of the balance and is sent away from his homeland in order to discover exactly who and what he is and can become. Kind of harsh that his own country kicks him out, but they do give him a little schooling before he goes where he meets others who are like him in that their country doesn’t feel they belong, but thinks they might belong after traveling abroad. Here’s the thing: the rest of the world doesn’t really like their home country so the odds of survival aren’t going yo be in their favor. I have to admit I’ve always been a touch jealous of the schooling that Lerris was offered, but definitely not jealous of the exile.

While on his personal journey of discovery Lerris also becomes quite the carpenter! One of the most magical things for me about the Recluce Saga is that you get to learn about different crafts in each book. Modesitt educates while entertaining. In other books you get to learn about being a cooper or a scribe or any number of amazing crafts!

The Recluce Saga is a multigenerational High Fantasy tale which is not written in chronological order. Modesitt takes you on a journey into the concept of Recluce as you read along in publication order so definitely read in publication order. Normally you will find two consecutive books dedicated to one primary character, but sometimes there are standalones.

Ok on Bookstagram I had promised I’d tell the tale of how I discovered this series, and I will but not fully in this post! I’ll share that in the next Recluce post which will be soon in this series if nine posts BUT as a teaser for those of you who love High Fantasy can you name the artist who painted this cover and maybe guess the other High Fantasy series I saw this artist’s art on that drew my eye to Recluce? That is the teaser! More next time.

Some Very Important Words

Sometimes finding the right words to say can be difficult. Sometimes saying certain words can be difficult. Sometimes words are difficult. Lately words have been difficult for me. Reading them, writing them, hearing them, saying them. But words matter a lot. That is why it is important to choose them wisely and proclaim them strongly. These words matter to me a lot: BLACK LIVES MATTER.

This is a time of turmoil in my nation, my state, my city, and even my social circle. I’ve set down several books as I’ve been not in the right mind to disengage from the world around me and read. So I looked at what I was reading and have diversified my current reads more. Words have power and without even realizing it we are amplifying the words of others by what we read and review and talk about. I try to be very conscious about the books I feature on my website, and now I am consciously choosing to include more works by Black authors because: BLACK VOICES MATTER.

I want my website and podcast to be in alignment with the issues that matter to my heart and to my family’s heart. There will always be room for random reads and fun dives into 90’s comic books, but just as I consciously set out to support women authors more when I realized the majority of authors I was reading were men, I realize I need to continue branching out and gain greater diversity in my reading. All of our lives are enriched by seeking out the viewpoints and perspectives of others. And BLACK PERSPECTIVES MATTER.

Sometimes words are difficult. Sometimes finding the right words can be difficult. Sometimes it is more important to listen and learn. And sometimes you need to stand alongside your fellow humans and declare loudly that their voices matter. Their stories matter. Their lives matter. I hope everyone who reads this post will be challenged to thoughtfully consider reading more works created by Black authors and join in saying BLACK LIVES MATTER.

A few updates leave you seeing that you need more updates which then lead to….

Y’all know how it is. You start to clean up your house and when you do you suddenly notice that there is always one more thing you can, and probably should do. Updating a website is like that too. I need to update my welcome page. Need to fix the links on my BookTube page, need to correct where my current tweets should be showing, have to consider if it is worth four dollars a month to eliminate all those pesky ads that pop up on my posts… oh yeah and write new blogs and reviews too! Well I at least added a page promoting my podcast that has been running now for two years! Every time I see my home page I realize I need to return to my Star In The Sky Indie Reviews and also finish out my reading of Dark Horse Presents too, although the weekly DHP gets a little tough because I worry about spoilers, but that is a little silly considering these comic books are thirty years old or so… hmmmm….. I think I could revamp the DHP and include spoilers to make it more fun for me to discuss and if folks don’t want to rad it because they might one day collect 100+ out of print comic books… ok I think I am sold on that.

Well all that to say this website is most def a work in progress, but it has progressed a little this weekend and that’s encouraged me to get back to writing and seeking out ways to get the ball rolling on some more reviewing! My goals are to start updating the site a bit more each week until it is all up to date, get back to reading DHP, return to the starry sky of indie reviews, share more about my podcast, get caught up on my netgalley reviews, and post a little more frequently.

I hope you are all well and that your loved ones are doing well as well. Thank you for being a part of this book reviewing journey I’ve been on! Thank you to all you who have been there since my early days, the ones who came on after, and to the new followers who have joined recently! I truly appreciate you all.

Book 36 Of ?

I’ve just completed reading the 36 book of The Horus Heresy and I really enjoyed it a lot!

The Path Of Heaven by Chris Wraight features the White Scars who are an interesting Legion to follow. Based off of a Mongal Horde sort of group their Legion cherishes speed as one of their primary traits, and they feel like outsiders from the very Imperium they’ve fought to expand and protect. This outsider mindset plays heavily into their decisions on which factor to support in the Galactic Civil War.

The book started a little slow, ironically as speed is so cherished by this Legion, but I think the slowness was primarily a result of over focusing on the enemies in this book, and setting up the deception that warfare brings with it. That said once this book started rolling it really drew me right into it and didn’t let go until the very end! One of the better books in the series.

So let’s talk about this series a bit! This is book number 36 of…. well right now 56 I think m, but as the series is still ongoing who really knows? And that is honestly something that I’m really enjoying about this series, the fact that it just keeps on going and growing. I’ll admit I was a bit frustrated with how sideways everything went early on after a quick start out of the gate with the first few books, but now I know I’d rather the series be this sprawling and wide ranging. The Heresy itself is supposedly only a ten year period of time but the series has jumped around to ten or forty or two hundred years before the “present” time. Each jump deepens the story and increases the build up! The best analogy I can think of is if you ever watched Dragonball Z and you remember how they’d spend like three episodes building up energy for one powerful punch, that’s similar to what the authors are doing here! If they’re going to tell a story of galactic civil war they’re going to truly make it as epic as the galaxy itself!

As a plus for any considering if they want to dip their toes into The Horus Heresy I can truly say I’m still loving this series 36 books into it and I’m eager for however many more books it will last!

PS: it appears WordPress just changed their App and now instead of writing one long blog post it’s split it into several boxes which is causing me some consternation and throwing me off my blogging game just a little right now, but hopefully it posts ok and I get accustomed to it soon! Hope y’all are all well!

#20For20Books

All of us have massive TBR piles, or shelves, or lists, right? Well a friend on Instagram @Jetwithjess has created a fun “challenge” for attacking your TBR this year called #20For20Books in honor of the year 2020! It’s easy to join in. All you need to do is pick out twenty books that you already own from your TBR and read those twenty books over the course of this year! If you want to include a reread or want to add a book you don’t own yet but have wanted to read for ages that’s fine too, it’s all meant to be fun!

The difficult part for me was selecting just twenty books! There are so many boos on my TBR that I want to read! But I have narrowed my list down to these twenty books:

1 Beyond Apollo Barry Malzberg

2 Best Served Cold Joe Abercrombie

3 The Curse Of The Mistwraith Janny Wurts

4 Inversions Iain M Banks

5 Ancillary Sword Anne Leckie

6 The Land You Never Leave Angus Watson

7 Relic Of Sorrows Lindsay Buroker

8 The Deadbringer E M Markoff

9 The Mirror’s Truth Michael Fletcher

10 The Crown Of Stones Magic Scars C L Schneider

11 The House Of Sacrifice Anna Smith Spark

12 The Heart Of What Was Lost Tad Williams

13 Shadow And Flame Gail Z Martin

14 Eye Of Terra Aaron Dembski-Bowden

15 Fleet Of Knives Gareth L Powell

16 The Scorched Earth Drew Karpyshyn

17 The Sword Of The Lictor Gene Wolfe

18 The Citadel Of The Autarch Gene Wolfe

19 Fallen Dragon Peter Hamilton

20 Iron Gold Pierce Brown

Do you see any favorites on the list or ones you’d like to read to? Are you going to join in? I’m curious what books will make your #20For20Books list! Hope you join in!

A Voice That Gave A Voice

Creative titles are fun aren’t they? I mean I at least think it’s creative. Ok on with the reviewing before I think I’m more clever than I already think I am ha!

Years ago I accepted an ARC of A Crown For Cold Silver by Alex Marshall and was really excited! A GrimDark Fantasy of a conflicting character from an earlier generation setting out to make the world bleed for their vengeance. Sounds promising! Unfortunately it failed to live up to its promise.

I know I know I rarely books that I don’t enjoy. I rarely read books I don’t enjoy or DNF them and then move on. Life is too short and my TBR too massive to spend time on books I’m not enjoying. However I felt I owed this one a read through as I did accept the ARC. It was taking me ages to make any headway though and so I ended up buying a physical copy to accompany my Ebook ARC. Maybe that will help me connect with this story but again I just wasn’t feeling it. I kept wondering why I wasn’t enjoying this tale, where was the disconnect? Suddenly it hit me: The characters didn’t have anything to truly distinguish themselves from each other.

Oh sure they had different names and physical attributes and backgrounds, but all of the characters were the same dull overly snarky attempting to be witty tough character. You could have replaced any of the primary characters with any of the secondary characters and not noticed a difference in the story. That’s frustrating.

I felt I owed it to the publisher to not give up, but a third of the way into the book I almost caved. Then I remembered I had an Audible credit and needed a new audiobook! Did this one have a good narrator? I decided to find out and I am so glad I did!

Angele Masters is an amazing narrator and she breathed life into the various characters within the pages of this book! Her reading of it and the voices she made for each of the characters turned my experience of this book completely around from one I was about to DNF to now having me interested in listening to the next two volumes of the trilogy.

If you enjoy GrimDark this story is worth a try. You may find more life within the characters than did I. If you enjoy GrimDark and audiobooks then this is a must listen because you’ll enjoy the experience!

47 And Counting

So far in 2019 I’ve read 47 books. Normally I read over a hundred books a year. This year I might hit fifty but my book reading days are definitely down from the 120 books a year days and that’s ok! Life has enough stressing without stressing over the number of books read. I’ve had such an amazing year of reading this year! I’m so thankful for everyone who joined in on 2019’s #RedStarGroupReads and I loved getting to share some favorite books with fellow readers.

Soon I’ll be going back over all my 2019 reads to pick out my favorites of the year, then I’ll be finalizing my reading plans for #VintageSciFiMonth prepping for 2020’s planned Group Reads in February and March, and considering what other books I’ll be reading in 2020. BUT I’ve got one month left in 2019 to discover some amazing books and I’m excited to discover them!

I hope your 2019 reading has exceeding your quality expectations and that everyone has a great December of reading!